Naval Police History

  

 

HISTORY OF THE NAVAL POLICE

 

The formation of the Naval Police occurred on the 1st July 1913, when the Royal Naval Establishments in the Sydney area were handed over to the Royal Australian Navy.

 

The branch was at that time known as the Naval Dockyard Police and had been established to relieve the Royal Marine Light Infantry members who had carried out the guarding and Policing duties at Garden Island, Spectacle Island and the Royal Edward Victualling yard since 1867. And, as the Commonwealth Government had acquired the Cockatoo Island Dockyard from the N.S.W. Government on the 31 January 1913, it was also decided to have Naval Dockyard Police also take over from the six civilian Special Constables who had been employed by the NSW Public Works Department.

 

Although it had been decided, as early as the 18 May 1911, to form a 'Special Police Force' of the Permanent Naval Forces to relieve the Royal Marines, it was not until the 8 May, 1913, that the Minister for Defence.- Senator Pearce - approved formation of the `NAVAL POLICE FORCE' with a complement of forty members.

 

On 13 May 1913, the first of a series of advertisements appeared in all the major daily newspapers throughout Australia, inviting members of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and the Royal Australian Navy to apply for the new `Force'.

 

The advertisement read:

 

Applications are invited from persons qualified for appointment as NAVAL POLICE at HMA Naval Establishments, Sydney.

Applicants must not be less than 30 nor more that 45 years of age on 1 July 1913.

Preference will be given to married men who have completed not less than five years service in the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, or the Royal Australian Navy.

Applicants must be made on the prescribed forms which may be obtained, together with full particulars as to rate of pay, conditions of appointment, etc; on application to the District Naval Officer, Naval Staff Office (in the State of application).

Applications must be sent direct to the Naval Secretary, Navy Office, Melbourne, to reach him not later than 9th June, 1913'.

 

Prior to the enrolment of the successful applicants the title of the Force was changed to that of `NAVAL DOCKYARD POLICE'. This came about at the request of the Captain-in-Charge HM Establishments, Sydney, Captain C.F. HENDERSON, RN, who stated that: "In view of the fact that the Active Service Police employed onboard HM ships are termed `Naval Police, it would appear to be more suitable to class the newly formed Corps under some other name, such as `Dockyard Police'. And as the Active Service Police apparently suffered an unsavoury reputation; in fact, Admiral Creswell personally stated he had `the strongest objection to anything that savours of the ship's police'; the Naval Board, on 4 June 1913, approved the title `NAVAL DOCKYARD POLICE'.

 

As the formation of the Force had not been given a great deal of consideration between 1911 and May of 1913, very little time was available to develop a satisfactory uniform and an adequate set of conditions of service. So for the sake of expediency, the Naval Board accepted the recommendation of the Director of Naval Accounts, Honourary Fleet Paymaster A. MARTIN, that the Naval Dockyard Police conditions of service, including pay, be aligned with those of the RAN Academic and Instructional Staff and that the uniform of the N.S.W. Water Police be adopted. However, as no uniforms were available as at 1 July 1913, the branch began its service in civilian clothing wearing Naval Police armlets until they were subsequently supplied with uniforms.

 

From the inception of the Force, all members were placed on a six-month probationary period, including the appointed Sub-Inspector, Mr Albert Jesse Merry. Mr Merry's immediate task was to select his Senior Constables and Sergeants who would supervise the personnel and functions at each of the establishments. In this matter, he chose former Royal Marines who were familiar with the various Acts and Regulations applicable to the Naval Establishments and who were capable of ensuring they were carried out. The majority of these selected members proved very satisfactory and continued in service for many years.

 

The same could not, however, be said for many of the other inaugural members. Over fifty percent of the initial Constables had to be 'weeded' out because of unsuitability and unsatisfactory performances

 

A classic example of this unsuitability and the manner in which Mr. Merry `weeded' them out, is that of Constable Everett.

 

Constable Everett had joined the Force on 1 July 1913, and was discharged unsuitable in August 1913. Two months after his discharge, it was discovered that he was responsible for the theft of certain Government Stores. Sub-Inspector Merry subsequently investigated the matter, traced Mr Everett's whereabouts to Brisbane and travelled there to effect his arrest. Sub-Inspector Merry was then able to recover the whole of the stolen property; brought Everett to Sydney and prosecuted him with the result that he was sentenced to two-years imprisonment.

 

There were many other major concerns that effected the development of the Force in its early years and were to have far reaching ramifications in its later history. Among these was the dubious legal status of the Force. As civilian employees of the Royal Australian Navy, they had no legal authority to detain and search any person employed in the various establishments.

 

This situation was not long in being brought to the attention of the Naval Board, for on 22 July 1913, the Executive of the Ironworkers Union lodged a complaint about their members being searched by Naval Dockyard Police.

 

As members of the Force had no legislated powers whatsoever, these early complaints were resolved by the Naval Board entering into an agreement with the Union that searches would be conducted only of a person suspected of having committed an offence and that the search should be conducted in a private area out of the view of the public gaze. This agreement was subsequently incorporated in the 'Instructions for Naval Dockyard Police' in 1914, which were issued with the authority of the Naval Board.

 

Although this measure enabled the Force to administer local orders and instructions applicable to each establishment, it offered no real police powers to arrest an offender or any power that was recognised by Law. Therefore, the Naval Board set about trying to remedy the situation and obtain specific powers legislated for the Force. However, before this was ultimately achieved, the First World War had begun and the matter fell into abeyance.

 

The First World War was also to create several problems that would change the direction of the Force in years to come. The first of these matters was the need to provide additional guards at an increasing number of Naval Establishments and associated works and, at the same time, provide a counter-espionage service that could carry out secret investigations into such concerns as sabotage and the location of alien agents. Hence, the Naval Board determined that the Royal Australian Naval Brigade members who were unfit for active service would provide the additional guarding services. The task of counter-espionage fell on the Naval Dockyard Police. In the main, because Sub-Inspector Merry was an experienced Detective formerly of the Metropolitan Police.

 

In the field of 'secret service detective' work, Mr. Merry, proved a great success; not only through his own investigations but also in his effective training of other Naval Dockyard Policemen for the duty. This is highlighted in a letter written by Commodore C.F. HENDERSON on the 30 May 1916, where he stated: "He has also carried out numerous special investigations and secret service detective work, with very prompt and successful results". Since these early investigations, the Force has been responsible for the investigation of offences in the RAN.

 

Because the Force was still a civilian unit, without any conditions of employment, many of the early members seeking to 'do their bit for the Empire' simply walked out and enlisted in either the AIF or the RAN. As some of these members had not sought permission to enlist for active service, they were posted as deserters. One of those listed, as a deserter was the former CONSTABLE F.G. TURNER.

 

Turner had joined the 1st Battalion of the AIF on 17 August 1914. Prior to his departure for Gallipoli, he wrote direct to the Minister for Defence seeking a leave of absence. However, as he had already been enlisted in the AIF the application was not approved. He subsequently served at Gallipoli and in France, was wounded four times, promoted through every rank to that of Regimental Sergeant Major, awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for gallantry and offered a Commission in the Field.

 

He was subsequently demobilised on his return to Australia on 15 April 1919, and immediately applied to re-enter the Naval Dockyard Police. This began what was to be a very long and emotional charged effort that involved the Prime Minister, half a dozen Ministers and the Naval Board in determining whether Turner had any right to re-enter, and furthermore highlighted the need to formalise the conditions of service for the Force. In the meantime, Turner continued to write to anyone, willing to listen or otherwise, claiming he had been victimised and should be re-entered. He continued these efforts until early 1932 when the old war-horse finally gave it all away.

 

After WWI, when the Nation was settling back into a more stable existence the problems of legal status of the Force again raised its head. Yet no effective resolution was found until the Naval Dockyard Police were appointed to the Flinders Naval Depot in 1921.

Prior to its commissioning on the 1 April 1921, over 800 rowdy workmen had been employed at the Base and because of their mischievous behaviour the Victorian Police established a permanent Police Station there. When the Victoria Policemen were relieved at the Base by Naval Dockyard Policemen, an arrangement was entered into between the Naval Board and the Chief Commissioner Sir John Gellibrand, whereby the three members of the NDP all became supernumerary members of the Victoria Police. As a consequence, Senior Constable Thomas Blake, Constable Alfred Daly and Constable Patrick Sweeney, all became Constables of the Victoria Police Force on 25 August 1921, with all the powers and privileges of a full member of the State Police Force.

 


SNRCONST Thomas Blake

 

Immediately, the Commodore -in-Charge, Sydney, saw this move as the answer to all the earlier problems relating to legal status and the lack of powers that the Force had suffered since its inception in 1913, and made application to allow him to approach the Commissioner of the NSW Police Department to have all members of the Force made Special Constables of the NSW Police. On 1 November 1921, all Naval Dockyard Police in the Sydney area were sworn in and issued their Warrant Card as members of the State Police, which gave them powers of' arrest, search and detention under the various State Acts and Regulations.

 

When Sir John Gellibrand was replaced as the Chief Commissioner of the Victoria Police in 1923, his relief, Mr. A. Nicholson was not willing to maintain the three NDP members at CERBERUS as supernumeraries and on the 30 June 1923, they were discharged from the Victoria Police. It probably had a lot to do with the fact that the Victoria Government had been required to pay the wages of the three N.D. Policemen. Because of the breakdown in this arrangement, Commander C. Spurgeon, Head of Navy Branch, was directed by the Naval Board to investigate an alternative. His proposal was to enter into the Permanent Naval Forces (Auxiliary Services) which would not only establish the Force on a permanent footing with more equitable conditions of service, but would also give them authority under the Naval Defence Act. The Naval Board approved the proposal and the Force ceased to be a civilian organisation on 31 August 1923, when they entered the Auxiliary Services of the RAN.

 

With the entry into the PNF, many amendments were required to the- Consolidated Orders and Regulations, Naval Finance Regulations, Naval Defence Act and the like. It was during these many changes that it was proposed the Force be given its own Statutory powers of arrest, search and detention. And after the matter had been given some considerable debate by the Attorney Generals department, the Naval Establishment Regulation 101 received Royal Assent on 26 July 1934. This Regulation literally made the Naval Dockyard Police a Statutory Force with powers that have remained as powerful today as they were fifty years ago.

 

Apart from variations to rates of pay and several other financial aspects, no further changes occurred to the Force until the outbreak of World War II, when changes began to occur at an unperceivable rate.

 

As the responsibility for guarding Naval establishments during WWI had fallen on the Reserves, the same task was given to the RANR and the RANVR at the outbreak of WW 11. However, it quickly became apparent that these personnel, who were, in most cases, young seamen; were a misuse of fit potential fighting manpower. So on 10 February 1940, the Minister for the Navy placed a proposal before the War Cabinet that the existing Naval Dockyard Police should be temporarily expanded to form a Guard Section for the provision of security protection to Naval Establishments and vulnerable points whilst under war conditions.

 

On 21 March 1940, the War Cabinet approved the formation the Naval Dockyard Police (Guard Section) with an initial complement of 169 to serve in all States except South Australia.

 

The conditions of entry for the Guard Section was that recruits were to have served on Active Service, or for not less than five years man's time in peace, and not to be less than 40 years of age or more than 58 years of age. Retiring age was set at 60 years of age and each engagement was for two years or for the period of hostilities and 6 months thereafter. All members were recruited within the State they were to serve in and although their pay and allowances were aligned with the Commonwealth Peace Officers' scale, they were subject to the Naval Discipline Act and Regulations for the Auxiliary Services.

 

Recruiting for the Guard Section began immediately and as newly recruited members began their service a serious anomaly in the pay structure became obvious. On the scale set down for the Guard Section, their Senior Constables were receiving less pay then Constables of the Permanent Section. So, on 15th May 1940, the situation was rectified by altering the rank structure to:

 

Sergeant 1st Class
Sergeant 2nd Class
Constable 1st Class
Constable 2nd Class

 

This basic rank structure remained in force until 21 January 1972, when the Warrant Officer and Senior Constable ranks were introduced.

 

As Australia's war effort accelerated, so did the development of the Force. Within 18 months of war's commencement the Naval Dockyard Police complement had risen to 472, with the following disposition:

 

Sydney and Newcastle 254
Western Australia 160
Victoria 31
Queensland 20
Tasmania 7

 

At the peak of the war effort, the Force had a strength exceeding 600 members who were employed on guarding duties at Wireless Transmitting Stations, Armament Depots, Oil Fuel Installations, Dockyards, Naval Stores Depots and even points of vulnerability like the Victoria Markets.

 

Cell Block, Garden Island Dockyard, Circa 1947

At the war's end, very few of the Guard Section personnel were demobilised as the Naval Board had not determined a policy for the future guarding of Naval Establishments. Hence, members were requested to re-engage for further periods of either 6 or 12 months until the Force could be re-organised on a permanent basis. However, the Government did not approve the Naval Board's recommendations concerning the re-organisation of the Force until December 1948, and the Guard Section members were retained until 1 January 1949, when demobilisation actually began, although many were able to remain in service until November 1950.

 

Prior to the disbandment of the Guard Section, an "Interim Force" was established on 29 July 1946. This Force was established to replenish the Permanent Force which had fallen to a total of 9 members at the war's end and three of those were due for retirement before February 1947. The Interim Force had an approved complement of 272 and its members were recruited from ex-RAN members of the Seagoing Forces who were aged between 21 and 45 years of age, thereby creating a more virile and active deterrent to `Black Marketeers and other ill-disposed persons'.

 

The excellent results of the Interim Force personnel effectively meant the continuance of the Naval Dockyard Polite as part of the PAN and established a standard of protection of Naval Establishments and Installations that the Government could ill-afford to lose. Hence, the re-organised Permanent Force of the Naval Dockyard Police was approved on 1 March 1949, with a complement of:

 

One Superintendent NSW
One Inspector NSW
Three Sub-inspectors NSW, WA, VIC
47 Sergeants
256 Constables

 

The interesting point here is that the Superintendent's position was filled by Commander N.H. Shaw, RAN. Commander Shaw had, immediately prior to his appointment as Superintendent, been the Commanding Officer of HMAS KUTTABUL and had headed the Naval Board Committee on the 'Re-organisation of Naval Dockyard Police' which met on 3 July 1946 and recommended the establishment of the Superintendent position. The other interesting point is that he was the first `Gold-ring' officer to have been appointed directly to the Naval Dockyard Police of Naval Police officer ranks.

 

With the establishment of the post-war Naval Dockyard Police, on a permanent footing, the branch settled down to a steady existence, generally devoid of major turmoil that affected the branch structure. Although a number of changes to uniform, complement and pay rates occurred after the war, it was not until 21 January 1972, that any major change to the Force's structure occurred. It was on this date that the Force became a branch of the RAN and thereby no longer existed as part of the Auxiliary Services. It was also at this time that history had turned full circle and the branch again was retitled 'Naval Police'. It was also at this time the ranks of Warrant Officer and Senior Constable were introduced.

 

At this time the Naval Police branch had a complement of 16 officers and 366 Police members and were employed in Physical Security, Fire Protection and Investigational Functions in the following establishments:

 

ACT Navy Office - Canberra
 

HMAS HARMAN

NSW Garden Island Dockyard
 

HMAS KUTTABUL
 

NSC Zetland
 

RANAD Kingswood
 

RANAD Newington
 

Naval Stores Randwick
 

RAN Trials Assessing Unit
 

RAN Research Laboratory
 

RAN Torpedo Maintenance Establishment
 

Naval Stores Leichardt
 

Cockatoo Island
 

HMAS ALBATROSS (Dog Squad)

VIC HMAS CERBERUS
 

NP Headquarters
 

Williamstown Naval Dockyard
 

RANAD Somerton
 

Naval Stores Maribyrnong

WA HMAS STIRLING
 

HMAS LEEUWIN

QLD HMAS MORETON

NT HMAS COONAWARRA

RANAD Newington, NP Office, Circa 1949

 

On 10 January 1983, the first three females from the WRANS transferred to the Naval Police Branch.

 

The Cockatoo Island Contingent

 

The Cockatoo Island Dockyard was taken over from the NSW Government by the Commonwealth on 31 January 1913, and renamed the Commonwealth Naval Dockyard.

 

At the time of the Commonwealth Governments acquisition of the Cockatoo Island Dockyard there existed six `Special Constables' who were employed by the NSW Government and were responsible for the physical protection and general policing of Cockatoo Island dockyard. In addition to these six Special Constables there were, at the time, another two employees who acted as relieving Constables.

 

In March 1913, the Director of Naval Accounts visited Sydney to negotiate the transfer of the Island's Special Constables to the Staff of the Commonwealth Government. His recommendation to the Naval Board was that the complement for the Naval Dockyard consist of one Senior Constable and six Constables and that the six Special Constables be taken over at their current rate of pay of 156 pounds per annum.

 

Subsequent to the Minister for Defence's approval for the Naval Police Force to be formed, the Naval Board formally invited the six Special Constables to apply for appointment to the Naval Police Branch.

 

Below is a reproduction of that invitation;

 

23 May, 1913

Acting General Manager
 

Commonwealth Naval Dockyard
 

COCKATOO ISLAND N.S.W.

 

With reference to the six Special Constables at present employed at Cockatoo Island, applications have been invited in the public press from persons qualified for appointment as Naval Police.

 

If the six Special Constables are desirous of appointment as Naval Police under the conditions laid down, they should make application on the enclosed forms. They should also state on the forms that they are at present employed as Special Constables at Cockatoo Island.

 

Subject to your recommendation, which should be endorsed on each application form, it is proposed to appoint them as Naval Police from 1st July at their existing salary of 156 pounds per annum, as a special case. (the qualifications required by advertisement being waived in their case). They would be rated as Constables on first appointment, but eligible for advancement.

By direction

H.W.E. MANISTY
Naval Secretary

In response to this invitation, the following personnel applied:

 

Samuel ORR

William Grant LUNAM

John BARR

Leigh HARRIS

James BANKS

Daniel BOYLE

Charles Henry BENNETT

 

These applications were accompanied with the following recommendations of the Acting General Manager:

 

Boyle is a man I can speak very highly of, and he has acted on many occasions as Relieving constable. Reference to his application will show that he was a member of the Govan Police Force for 10 years.

 

Regarding Bennet, this man is at present working on the Island, having been previously employed as a 3rd Class Warder, leaving the Prisons Department in 1907. Although I have not come in personal contact with Bennet, his Foreman - Mr Scott, gives him an excellent character.

 

It would be necessary to appoint at least seven (7) Constables, as one would be required practically for relieving duty whilst the other was on leave, and at such times as he would not be required as Constable, he would be working on the Island as a general labourer.

 

As regards to the seven names submitted, I wish to draw attention to that of J. Banks. This man is 59 years of age and although he has fulfilled his duties satisfactorily, according to your regulations it would appear that he is too old for appointment, 57 being the retiring age.

 

If it is decided that Banks cannot be employed there would then only remain six (6) Constables, so that we should have to appoint one other as Relieving Constable.

 

I might mention that we have a Constable here who has been on the Island for many years - J. Pender, but he is on the permanent staff of the N.S.W. Public Works Dept., and does not wish to be transferred.

 

I would also like to draw attention to the application of Samuel Orr. A reference to his papers will show that he is a man of splendid physique, and has been employed on the Island for the past three years, during which period his Services have been most highly satisfactory.
He writes an excellent report, and a reference to his handwriting will show that he has seemingly had an education considerably higher that the general run, and I believe, personally that this man would fill the position of Sergeant in a highly satisfactory manner.

 

As regards Messrs Lunam, Barr, and Harris, they are all physically fine men, and have carried out their duties satisfactorily possibly, of the three Barr is the best man, but taking them generally, the whole of the men on the list submitted would take a lot of beating.

 

ACTING GENERAL MANAGER

 

These Special Constables had been employed by the NSW Government and remained on their payroll until 1 July 1913, even though the Commonwealth had taken over the Dockyard on 31 January 1913. Whilst in the employment of the NSW Government, the Special Constables conditions of service, gratuitous issue of uniforms, shift routines and uniform styles were aligned with those of the NSW Water Police. These became the basis upon which the Naval Police branch was ultimately formed and is also the reason for the continuing close ties with the NSW Police Force.

 

Hence, the historical importance of these six Special Constables in the development of the Naval Police branch is obvious. Although only civil employees, these Constables were sworn in and wore the same uniform as temporary members of the NSW Water Police. This fact played a major part in the development of the branch and the wearing of a uniform that remained distinct, at that time, from any other Naval uniform.

 

PIONEERING OFFICERS

 

It is of interest that from the branches' inception in 1913, through until 1939, there were only ever two Officer-in-Charge. The first was Sub-Inspector Albert Jesse MERRY, who had been recruited in the United Kingdom where he was a Detective in the Metropolitan Police. He resigned on 1 July 1916, in order to enlist in the active service in the United Kingdom. However, on reaching Vancouver, he found that women and children were not allowed passage across the Atlantic Ocean, so he joined the Canadian Armed Forces as a private in the Army Intelligence Branch where he was employed on full-time 'secret-service' work. Within 6 months he had attained the rank of Sergeant. In mid 1917, he was seconded to set up the Canadian Military Police to which he subsequently transferred to with the rank of Staff Sergeant.

 

The second Sub-Inspector was Bertram Walter FARR, who had joined on 1 July 1913, as a Constable after having served for a considerable number of years in the Royal Marines. He remained as the Sub-Inspector in Charge until his retirement in 1939. Hence, he was the longest serving Sub-Inspector with a total 26 years in the one rank.

 

In 1939, on the retirement of Sub-Inspector FARR, the Naval Board decided that, as no suitable Sergeant or Commissioned Warrant Officer from the Seagoing Forces were available as a replacement, they would enter an ex NSW policeman as the officer-in-charge. The man chosen for the job was an ex NSW Police Inspector, Thomas ELLIOT, who was entered for a two year period at the ripe age of 60. As he did not present an 'inspiring' example, the Naval Board did not renew his engagement.

 

Mr ELLIOTT was replaced by another ex Inspector of the NSW Police, Mr. H.G.E. GARLICK, who was also entered at the age of 60 years. However, Sub-Inspector GARLICK was a very energetic leader and the Naval Board was extremely pleased with his service and retained him until 7 August 1948, when he retired at the age of 67 years. Mr. GARLICK had been promoted to the rank of Inspector on 14 April 1943, and was the first Naval
Policeman to ever hold the rank.

 

 

INSP H.G.E. GARLICK

 

UNIFORMS

 

Inspector GARLICK can be thanked as the man responsible for changing the Naval Dockyard Police uniform into the modern era. As a former member of the NSW Police, he was not, at all happy that in 1946 that the NDP still wore the high collared tunic and helmet of the old NSW Water Police. He considered that it gave the appearance of a 'lion-tamer' and subsequently authorised a change to the double-breasted uniform of the RAN. Fortunately, the Naval Board, having been presented with a fait accompli, ultimately agreed with Mr. GARLICK's changes.

Proposal by INSP Garlick for change in style of helmet

 

Although the NDP moved into the double breasted RAN uniforms in 1949, it was not until 1968 that the Force began to use the traditional styled RAN cap badge, albeit they were made of silver wire not gold, thereby abandoning the last remnant of the NSW Water Police uniform the NDP had copied.

 

In 1968, the Force also changed from the original collar numbers and collar anchors to the NDP badge, which was the original RAN anchor surmounting the letters N.D.P. and was worn on the left breast in summer and each lapel in winter. This badge was ultimately replaced in 1972 a Naval Police breast badge. It should be pointed out to students of heraldry that this breast badge displayed is correct as it displays the Admiralty anchor rather than the RAN anchor, which has always been worn by the Force.

 

MOUNTED POLICEMAN

 

The Naval Dockyard Police can lay claim to having been the last, if not the only, branch of the RAN to have been horse-borne. Patrols of establishments on horse back commenced during WW II at depots such as Byford, in WA, and Newington in NSW. They continued right through until 1952 when the last fiery steed was with drawn from service at Byford and transferred to the less illustrious role of towing a roller around the sports ground of HMAS LEEUWIN. Notwithstanding this, Riding Breeches appeared on the official kit list of the Naval Dockyard Police some time after the disappearance of our last horse.

 

NAVAL POLICE DOGS

 

As a result of a fire at NAS NOWRA in December 1976, which completely destroyed a hangar and numerous Tracker aircraft, Navy Office saw the need to upgrade security at the Naval Air Station and in early 1977 Police Dogs were introduced to the Air Station. Initially Police Dogs and Handlers from the RAAF were used. The first Naval Police and Police Dog
Team took up duties in July 1979.

 

The German Shepherd dog is preferred by the RAN to other breeds because of its physical attributes, intelligence, dependability, versatility and receptiveness of training. The Shepherd is not chosen because of the ill-founded belief that the dog is savage. Indeed, neither savage nor a timid dog is accepted for training. The RAN does not breed but relies on the RAAF for its supply of dogs. Only pure breed Shepherds of either sex are accepted.

 

In the late 19th century the German Shepherd dog was bred as a working sheep dog which also involved protecting the flock from marauding wolves and bandits. Since then the dog has shown its much-admired qualities as a Police dog, Guide Dog for the Blind, Drug Detection Dog, Explosive Detection Dog and faithful family pet. It is these qualities, which has earned the Shepherd the international reputation of being the best in its class.

 

The careful selection of persons suitable for training for Police Dog Handlers is vital to the successful employment of Police Dogs in the RAN. At all stages of training and operational use the Naval Police Handler and his Dog work as a team, often with the minimum of supervision, therefore the selection of suitable personnel for training is no less important than the careful selection of dogs. Not only does the Naval Police handler have to cope with the training of his dog, study dog psychology and dog husbandry, he must also be conversant with normal Naval Police Practice and Procedure and can be called upon to carry out any Naval Police duties. Naval Police Dog Handlers are selected from all ranks of the Naval Police. They must be a volunteer for Police Dog duties, their Naval Police Task book must be completed and they must be assessed as suitable for dog handling duties.

 

The training of the handler and his dog is carried out (at the same time) at the Police Dog Training Centre, Toowoomba, Queensland. The handler and his dog are initially trained in obedience work. This means that the dog is taught to obey commands given by the handler in series of repetitive habit forming exercises. The dog must learn to do as he is told before he can be expected to succeed with further training.

 

The training is then advanced to developing the dog's natural agility. The object of agility training is to ensure that the Police Dog learns to surmount all obstacles within its physical capabilities. Several of the obstacles encountered during this training are hurdles of varying
height, a tunnel, a vertical scaling board, a ladder, a log walk and a fire hoop.

 

After success in obedience and obstacle training, the dog is trained in attack work. The object of this training is to ensure that the dog is capable of detecting the presence of an intruder or criminal by wind borne or ground scent, chasing and apprehending an escaping intruder, defending his handler and/or himself against attack, disarming an intruder or criminal armed with a firearm or other weapon as well as guarding and escorting these persons after apprehension. The dog is also trained to be fearless of gunfire.

 

At the end of the training course the handler and his dog are posted to NAS NOWRA where they will start their new life working together.

 

What's required in the way of security on Naval establishments in peacetime Australia is a matter for debate. The threat of sabotage or vandalism sometimes seems remote ... but is it?

 

The RAAF, who have had Police Dogs for over 20 years state that a one handler - one dog team is equivalent to three guards on foot patrol.'

 

The inherent abilities of German Shepherds complement the effectiveness of their human handlers. Humans generally have better eyesight than dogs. But the German Shepherd is better able to detect movement and noise and their highly developed olfactory system - with a remarkable ability both to detect the presence of people, animals or substances from hundreds of metres and at close range to distinguish one scent from a number of others - is their biggest plus of all.

 

The bond between dog and handler is one of care and protection, handler cares for dog, and dog protects handler. A well-trained dog alerted to the presence of someone other than his handler will, by propping, pricking his ears or raising his hackles, alert his handler of the fact. The handler is then in a position to decide how to handle the situation. Radioing for reinforcements before making a move, or rendering the situation overt by challenging the person and unleashing the dog to hold the intruder for questioning or search.

 

A closed-circuit television system could be used in well-lit areas, such as for line of parked aircraft. But TV cameras cannot smell or detect small sounds and there is no guarantee that the viewer is going to be looking in the right place at the right time, or sufficiently alert to notice that flicker of movement which could mean a threat to property.

 

Police dogs represent good value for Navy dollars invested in security.

 


Weapons used by Naval Police